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As if thy waves, since Time was born, Since first they roll'd upon the Tweed, Ilad only heard the shepherd's reed,
Nor started at the bugle-horn.
II. Unlike the tide of human time, Which, though it change in ceaseless flow, Retains each grief, retains each crime, Its earliest course was doom'd to know; And, darker as it downward bears, Is stain'd with past and present tears. Low as that tide has ebb'd with me, It still reflects to Memory's eye The hour, my brave, my only boy, Fell by the side of great Dundee. (1) Why, when the volleying musket play'd Against the bloody Highland blade, Why was not I beside him laid 1– Enough—he died the death of fame; Enough—he died with conquering Graeme !
Now over Border dale and fell,
Full wide and far was terror spread; For pathiess marsh, and mountain cell,
The peasant left his lowly shed. (2) The frighten’d slocks and herds were pent Beneath the peel's rude battlement; And maids and matrons dropp'd the tear, While ready warriors seized the spear. From Branksome's towers, the watchman's eye Dun wreaths of distant smoke can spy, Which, curling in the rising sun, Show'd southern ravage (3) was begun.
Now loud the heedful gate-ward cried—
* Prepare ye all for blows and blood : Watt Tinlinn, (4) from the Liddel side,
Comes wading through the flood. Full oft the Tynedale snatchers knock At his lone gate, and prove the lock; It was but last St Barnabright They sieged him a whole summer night, But fled at morning; well they knew, In vain he never twang'd the yew. Right sharp has been the evening shower, That drove him from his Liddel tower; And, by my faith, the gate-ward said, • I think 't will prove a warden-raid. . .
W. While thus he spoke, the bold yeoman Enter'd the echoing barbican. He led a small and shaggy nag, That through a bog, from hag to hag,” Could bound like any Bilhope stag. (5) It bore his wife and children twain; A half-clothed serfs was all their train. His wife, stout, ruddy, and dark-brow'd, Of silver broach and bracelet proud, (6) Laugh'd to her friends among the crowd.
"An inroad commanded by the warden in person. * The broken ground in a bog. * Bondsman.
He was of stature passing tall,
VI. Thus to the Ladye did Tinlinn show The tidings of the English foe. • Belied Will Howard (z) is marching here, And hot Lord Dacre, (8) with many a spear, And all the German hackbut-men, (9) Who have long lain at Askerten. They cross'd the Liddel at curfew hour, And burnt my little lonely tower; The fiend receive their souls therefor! It had not been burnt this year and more. Barn-yard and dwelling, blazing bright, Served to guide me on my flight; But I was chased the livelong night. Black John of Akeshaw, and Fergus Graeme, Full fast upon my traces came, Until I turn'd at Priesthaugh Scrogg, And shot their horses in the bog, Slew Fergus with my lance outright— I had him long at high despite, He drove my cows last Fastern's night.”
Wii. Now weary scouts from Liddesdale, Fast hurrying in, confirm'd the tale; As far as they could judge by ken, Three hours would bring to Teviot's strand Three thousand armed Englishmen.— Meanwhile, full many a warlike band, From Teviot, Aill, and Ettrick shade, Came in, their chief's defence to aid. There was saddling and mounting in haste, There was pricking o'er moor and lea, He that was last at the trysting-place Was but lightly held of his gay ladye.
VIII. From fair St Mary's silver wave, From dreary Gamescleugh’s dusky height, His ready lances Thirlestane brave Array'd beneath a banner bright. (10) The tressured fleur-de-luce he claims To wreathe his shield, since royal James Encamp'd by Fala's mossy wave, The proud distinction grateful gave, For faith 'mid feudal jars; What time, save Thirlestane alone, Of Scotland's stubborn barons none Would march to southern wars: And hence, in fair remembrance worn, Yon sheaf of spears his crest has borne; Hence his high motto shines reveal d• Ready, aye ready,” for the field.
IX. An aged knight, to danger steel'd, With many a moss-trooper, came on; And azure in a golden field, The stars and crescent graced his shield, Without the bend of Murdieston. (11) Wide lay his lands round Oakwood tower, And wide round haunted Castle-Ower; High over Borthwick's mountain-flood His wood-embosom'd mansion stood; In the dark glen, so deep below, The herds of plunder'd England low, His bold retainers daily food, And bought with danger, blows, and blood. Marauding chief! his sole delight The moon-light raid, the morning fight; Not even the Flower of Yarrow's charms, In youth, might tame his rage for arms; And still, in age, he spurn’d at rest, And still his brows the helmet press'd, Albeit the blanched locks below were white as Dinlay's spotless snow : Five stately warriors drew the sword Before their father's band; A braver knight than Harden's lord Ne'er belted on a brand.
Scotts of Eskdale, a stalwart band, (12)
Came trooping down the Todshawhill; By the sword they won their land,
And by the sword they hold it still. Harken, ladye to the tale, How thv sires won fair Eskdale.— Earl Morton was lord of that valley fair, The Beattisons were his vassals there. The earl was gentle, and mild of mood, The vassals were warlike, and fierce and rude; High of heart, and haughty of word, Little they reck'd of a tame liege-lord. The earl to fair Eskdale came, Homage and seignory to claim: of Gilbert the Galliard a heriot" he sought, saying, . Give thy best steed, as a vassal ought.” —a Dear to me is my bonny white steed, of has he help'd me at pinch of need; Lord and earl though thou be, I trow, I can rein Bucksfoot better than thou.”Word on word gave fuel to fire, Till so highly blazed the Beattisons ire, But that the earl his flight had ta'en, The vassals there their lord had slain. Sore he plied both whip and spur, As he urged his steed through Eskdale muir; And it fell down a weary weight, Just on the threshold of Branksome gate.
Yi. The earl was a wrathful man to see, Full fain avenged would he be. In haste to Branksome's lord he spoke, Saying—. Take these traitors to thy yoke; For a cast of hawks, and a purse of gold, All Eskdale I'll sell thee, to have and hold :
* The feudal superior, in certain cases, was entitled to the best horse of the vassal, in name of Ileriot, or Herezeld.
Beshrew thy heart, of the Beattisons clan If thou leavest on Esk a landed man; But spare Woodkerrick's lands alone, For he lent me his horse to escape upon. -A glad man then was Branksome bold, Down he flung him the purse of gold; To Eskdale soon he spurr'd amain, And with him five hundred riders has ta'en. He left his merry-men in the mist of the hill, And bade them hold them close and still ; And alone he wended to the plain, To meet with the Galliard and all his train. To Gilbert the Galliard thus he said:– * Know thou me for thy liege-lord and head; Deal not with me as with Morton tame, For Scotts play best at the roughest game. Give me in peace my heriot due, Thy bonny white steed, or thou shalt rue. If inv horn 1 three times wind, Eskdale shall long have the sound in mind. *
Loudly the Beattison laugh’d in scorn;
XIII. Whitslade the Hawk, and Headshaw came, And warriors more than I may name; From Yarrow-cleugh to Hindhaugh-swair, From Woodhouselie to Chester-glen, Troop'd man and horse, and bow and spear; Their gathering word was Bellenden. (13) And better hearts o'er Border sod To siege or rescue never rode. The Ladye mark'd the aids come in, And high her heart of pride arose; She bade her youthful son attend, That he might know his father's friend, And learn to face his foes. « The boy is ripe to look on war; I saw him draw a cross-bow stiff, And his true arrow struck afari The raven's nest upon the cliff;
The red cross, on a southern breast,
Well may you think, the wily page
The attendants to the Ladye told,
That wont to be so free and bold. Then wrathful was the noble dame; She blush'd blood-red for very shame; • Hence!ere the clan his faintness view; Hence with the weakling to Buccleuch!— Watt Tinlinn, thou shalt be his guide To Rangleburn's lonely side.— Sure some fell fiend has cursed our line, That coward should e'er be son of mine! -
A heavy task Watt Tinlinn had
But, as a shallow brook they cross'd,
And fled, and shouted, - Lost! lost! lost! •
Soon on the hill's steep verge he stood,
Above the copse appear;
Shine helm, and shield, and spear.
xWii. light forayers, first, to view the ground, spurr'd their fleet coursers loosely round;
Behind, in close array, and fast,
Behind the English bill and bow,
Moved on to fight, in dark array,
And sold their blood for foreign pay; The camp their home, their law the sword, They knew no country, own’d no lord. (14) They were not arm'd like England's sons, But bore the levin-darting guns; Buff coats, all frounced and 'broidered o'er, And morsing-horns' and scarfs they wore; Each better knee was bared, to aid The warriors in the escalade; And, as they marched, in rugged tongue, Sounds of Teutonic feuds they sung.
XIX. But louder still the clamour grew, And louder still the minstrels blew, When from beneath the green-wood tree Rode forth Lord Howard's chivalry; His men-at-arms, with glaive and spear, Brought up the battle's glittering rear. There many a youthful knight, full keen To gain his spurs, in arms was seen; With favour in his crest, or glove, Memorial of his ladye-love. So rode they forth in fair array, Till full their lengthen'd lines display; Then call'd a halt, and made a stand, And cried, “St George for merry England ' .
XX. Now every English eye, intent, On Branksome's armed towers was bent: So near they were, that they might know The straining harsh of each cross-bow; On battlement and bartizan Gleam'd axe, and spear, and partizan; Falcon and culver,” on each tower, Stood prompt their deadly hail to shower; And flashing armour frequent broke From eddying whirls of sable smoke, Where, upon tower and turret-head, The seething pitch and molten lead Reck'd, like a witch's cauldron red. While yet they gaze, the bridges fall, The wicket opes, and from the wall Rides forth the hoary semeschal.
* Powder-flaska. • Ancient pieces of artillery.
xxi. Armed he rode, all save the head, His white beard o'er his breast-plate spread; Unbroke by age, erecthis seat, He ruled his eager courser's gait; Forced him, with chasten’d fire, to prance, And, high curvetting, slow advance: In sign of truce, his better hand Display'd a peeled willow wand; His squire, attending in the rear, Bore high a gauntlet on a spear. (15) When they espied him riding out, Lord Howard and Lord Dacre stout Sped to the front of their array, To hear what this old knight should say.
xxii. . Ye English warden lords, of you Demands the Ladye of Buccleuch, Whv, gainst the truce of Border-tide, In hostile guise ye dare to ride, With Kendal bow, and Gilsland brand, And all yon mercenary band, Upon the bounds of fair Scotland? My Ladye redes you, swith return; And, if but one poor straw you burn, Or do our towers so much molest As scare one swallow from her nest, St Mary! but we'll light a brand, Shall warm your hearths in Cumberland.”
xxiii. A wrathful man was Dacre's lord, but calmer Howard took the word :— • May ’t please thy dame, Sir Seneschal, To seek the castle's outward wall, Our pursuivant-at-arms shall show, Both why we came, and when we go.--> The message sped, the noble dame to the wall's outward circle came ; Each chief around lean'd on his spear, To see the pursuivant appear All in Lord Howard's livery dress'd, the lion argent deck'd his breast; He led a boy of blooming hueo sight to meet a mother's view! It was the heir of great Buccleuch. Obeisance meet the herald made, And thus his master's will he said:
Harried the lands of Richard Musgrave,
XXV. He ceased—and loud the boy did cry, And stretch'd his little arms on high, Implored for aid each well-known face, And strove to seek the dame's embrace. A moment changed that Ladye's cheer; Gush'd to her eye the unbidden tear; She gazed upon the leaders round, And dark and sad each warrior frown'd; Then, deep within her sobbing breast She lock'd the struggling sigh to rest; Unalter'd and collected stood, And thus replied, in dauntless mood:—
- XXVI. • Say to your lords of high emprize, Who war on women and on boys, That either William of Deloraine Will cleanse him, by oath, of march-treason stain, (17) Or else he will the combat take 'Gainst Musgrave, for his honour's sake. No knight in Cumberland so good, But William may count with him kin and blood. Knighthood he took of Douglas' sword, (18) When English blood swell'd Ancram ford; (19) And but that Lord Dacre's steed was wight, And bore him ably in the flight, Himself had seen him dubb’d a knight, For the young heir of Branksome's line, God be his aid, and God be mine; Through me no friend shall meet his doom; Here, while I live, no foe finds room. Then, if thy lords their purpose urge, Take our defiance loud and high: Our slogan is their lyke-wake” dirge, Our moat the grave where they shall lie."—
XXVII. Proud she look'd round, applause to claim— Then lighten’d Thirlestane's eye of flame, His bugle Watt of Harden blew; Pensils and pennons wide were flung, To heaven the Border slogan rung, • St Mary for the young Buccleuch!" The English war-cry answer'd wide, And forward bent each southern spear; Each Kendal archer made a stride, And drew the bow-string to his ear; Each minstrel's war-note loud was blown;– But, ere a gray-goose shaft had flown, A horseman gallop'd from the rear.
* Plundered. * Note of assault. * Lyke-wake, the watching a corpse previous to interment.
xxWiii. • Ah! noble lords!” he, breathless, said, • What treason has your march betray'd? What make you here, from aid so far, Before you walls, around you war? Your foemen triumph in the thought, That in the toils the lion 's caught. Already on dark Ruberslaw The Douglas holds his weapon-shaw;" The lances, waving in his train, Clothe the dun heath like autumn grain; And on the Liddel's northern strand, To bar retreat to Cumberland, Lord Maxwell ranks his merry-men good, Beneath the eagle and the rood; And Jedwood, Eske, and Teviotdale, Have to proud Angus come! And all the Merse and Lauderdale Have risen with haughty Home. An exile from Northumberland, In Liddesdale I've wander'd long; But still my heart was with merry England, And cannot brook my country's wrong; And hard I've spurr'd all night to show The mustering of the coming foe. -
xxix. • And let them come!» fierce Dacre cried; * For soon yon crest, my father's pride, That swept the shores of Judah's sea, And waved in tales of Galilee, From Branksome's highest towers display'd, Shall mock the rescue's lingering aid – Level each harquebuss on row; Draw, merry archers, draw the bow; Up, bill-men, to the walls, and cry, Dacre for England, win or die!»
XXX. . Yet hear, quoth Howard, a calmly hear, Nor deem my words the words of fear; For who, in field or foray slack, Saw the blanche lion (20) eer fall back? But thus to risk our Border flower In strife against a kingdom's power, Ten thousand Scots 'gainst thousands three, Certes, were desperate policy. Nay, take the terms the Ladye made, Ere conscious of the advancing aid: Let Musgrave meet fierce Deloraine In single fight, (21) and if he gain, He gains for us; but if he's cross'd, 'T is but a single warrior lost: The rest, retreating as they came, Avoid defeat, and death, and shame. -
XXXi. Ill could the haughty Dacre brook His brother-warden's sage rebuke; And yet his forward step he staid, And slow and sullenly obey'd. But ne'er again the Border side Did these two lords in friendship ride; And this slight discontent, men say, Cost blood upon another day.
* Weapon-shaw, the military array of a country.
xxxii. The pursuivant-at-arms again Before the castle took his stand ; His trumpet call'd, with parleying strain, The leaders of the Scottish band; And he defied, in Musgrave's right, Stout Deloraine to single fight; A gauntlet at their feet he laid, And thus the terms of fight he said:— « If in the lists good Musgrave's sword Wanquish the knight of Deloraine, Your youthful chieftain, Branksome's lord, Shall hostage for his clan remain : If Deloraine foil good Musgrave, The boy his liberty shall have. Ilowe'er it falls, the English band, Unharming Scots, by Scots unharm’d, In peaceful march, like men unarm'd, Shall straight retreat to Cumberland.”
XXXIII. Unconscious of the near relief, The proffer pleased each Scottish chief, Though much the Ladye sage gainsaid; For though their hearts were brave and true, From Jedwood's recent sack they knew How tardy was the regent's aid : And you may guess the noble dame Durst not the secret prescience own, Sprung from the art she might not name, By which the coming help was known. Closed was the compact, and agreed, That lists should be inclosed with speed, Beneath the castle, on a lawn : They fix'd the morrow for the strife, On foot, with Scottish axe and knife, At the fourth hour from peep of dawn; When Deloraine, from sickness freed, Or else a champion in his stead, Should for himself and chieftain stand, Against stout Musgrave, band to hand.
XXXIV. I know right well, that, in their lay, Full many minstrels sing and say, Such combat should be made on horse, On foaming steed, in full career, With brand to aid, when as the spear Should shiver in the course : But he, the jovial harper, (22) taught Me, yet a youth, how it was fought, In guise which now I say; He knew each ordinance and clause Of black Lord Archibald's battle laws, In the old Douglas' day. (23) He brook'd not, he, that scoffing tongue Should tax his minstrelsy with wrong, Or call his song untrue: For this, when they the goblet plied, And such rude taunt had chafed his pride, The Bard of Reull he slew. On Teviot's side in fight they stood, And tuneful hands were stain'd with blood; Where still the thorn's white branches wave, Memorial o'er his rival's grave.